December 14, 2005

Le fin

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Well, it’s finally over! After slipping into a coma what seems like years ago in some park called Pennsylvania, and dying a slow, painful death since its visit to the world’s largest office chair, The Amazing Race: Family Edition is finally dead. Hopefully the massive decline in ratings has taught the show’s producers that the tried-and-true format of two-person, adult teams traveling around the world is what works, and next season we can get back to the good times of spicy-soup eating and fighting with African cab drivers.

In the meantime, though, let’s take one more trip down Family Edition memory lane, with a look back at the mildly exciting not totally coma-inducing two-hour season finale!

The race resumed on some ranch (of course) in Eastern Montana, where Phil’s disembodied voice told us that “cattle and sheep outnumber people by the millions.” Perhaps if they ever plan to do an Amazing Race: Cattle and Sheep Edition, this might be the ideal location. Among all of those trillions of cows, there are probably some pretty hilarious regional differences (think pink-clad cows “MAAAAAA-ing”) that would inevitably lead to great reality TV moments. For the record, that idea is MINE, CBS! And don’t you try changing it to Pig Edition or something and pretend I didn’t come up with it!

Anyway, for any sort of Human Edition, this area is totally boring. Thankfully, the families had already visited every single ranch and humongous man-made structure in the continental United States, so it was off to Canada, of course! Ok, it’s not that exotic, but at least somebody might say “aboot” or “paaahhsta” and I can giggle at them.

Since the 1,700 miles between Billings and Montreal was a little far to lug those damn trailers, they actually let the families board airplanes again. This time, they had pre-purchased tickets for them, but they were allowed to try to find faster flights if they wanted. While the Weavers and the Linzes found an itinerary that got them to Montreal an hour earlier than planned, the Bransens wound up on a plane that might have saved them 10 minutes, but ended up being delayed, putting them almost an hour and a half behind the others.

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Coincidentally, the Weavers arrived in Montreal just in time for the annual Booty Shorts Expo 2005

The mad dash through the airport wasn’t without its casualties, however, as Alex Linz and Rolly Weaver collided, sending both of them to the floor. It looked like a complete accident to me, but since Linda sees in Weaver-vision (which incidentally, also allows you to see the Virgin Mary in various foods and highway overpasses), she spotted something sinister and screamed out “don’t touch him, get your hands off of him!” in her usual deranged-wacko voice. Sadly, Alex only responded with, “they suck,” rather than my favorite Linz-impersonating-Linda-Weaver voice. Because the only thing funnier than Linda’s deranged-wacko voice is the Linzes impersonation of her deranged-wacko voice.

Once in Montreal, the teams had to travel by taxi to a train station, where they had to locate the “underground city,” and navigate a subterranean complex of passageways to find the basement of the CBP Capital Building.

The Weavers found a cab first, driven by AWESOME Ted, who didn’t seem so awesome at first when Rolly tried to explain that they were in a race by saying, “el fasto!” which of course, doesn’t make sense anywhere, but is even stupider in Canada. “I’m not going to lose my life getting you there,” Senor Ted responded-o. However, the incessant repetition of “Merci, Merci!” and “You’re AWESOME!” and “You’re the man, Ted!” apparently swayed him, because after a few miles they were best buds, and were even praying for directions together.

Well the Lord was apparently having an off day (or was just screwing with them), because after an uneventful stop at the underground city, he led them in the wrong direction on their way to their next stop, the McGill arena. But the Weavers eventually found the right rink, and the Linzes godless heathen cab driver made the same mistake, so the Weavers were able to hold onto their sizeable lead.

This episode’s (first) detour was a choice between two traditional Canadian sports: Slide It or Roll It. Slide It was, of course, the most Canadian of Canadian sports, curling. (Despite the implication in that picture, the women of curling are not all man-beasts, and they do not usually use black people’s afros to sweep the floor.)

In Roll It, two team members at a time had to roll a log (using weird metal claw-like devices) along a track made of other logs. Seriously, this is apparently a sport in Canada. They need to get some Ecstasy up there or something.

Anyway, the Weavers and Linzes opted for Slide It. Despite “not even knowing what ice is except for ice cubes,” (and forgetting to wear pants), the Weavers were actually pretty good at curling.

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After finishing with a bulls-eye courtesy of Rolly, the Weaver gals, frostbitten thighs and all, treaded back to find SUPER-COOL-AWESOME Ted, who was waiting outside to take them to their next destination. The Linzes followed shortly thereafter, and they really seemed to be into the curling, even vowing to “open a curling rink in Cincinnati.”

The Bransens, on the other hand, chose the long rolling, most likely because they did not have matching curling outfits.

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Seriously, they do this for fun in Canada.

After that exciting introduction to Canadian sports culture, everyone was off to the next destination.

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The Worlds Largest Golfball

The next clue was at the top of the world’s largest whatever-it-is, which directed the teams to 2350 Dickson Street, La Porte J. In case you didn’t know, “La Porte J” is French for “Door J.” And “La Crappé Show” is French for “The Amazing Race: Family Edition.”

Inside the very francais door was this weeks Road-blaaahck (oh I miss the Gaaadlewskis), in which one person from each team would have to perform a trapeze maneuver called “the catch,” which really should have been called, “the be caught,” since it basically just involved them swinging off the pole and being caught by a trapeze guy.

The Weavers still had a good lead on everyone, and Rolly volunteered for the fairly boring roadblock. He had no trouble at all, completing in on his first try.

The Linzes were next, and Alex chose to do the roadblock (probably because the trapeze helpers were hot girlies), proving that the task wasn’t so easy after all, especially if you are (in his brothers’ words) a “fat load.”

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I like big butts and I cannot lie. Seriously, Alex... call me. Rrowr!

Megan offered some words of encouragement to her fat-ass brother. “Think light! Think feather!” Unfortunately this worked about as well as Bransen Girl’s, “You’re a fish! A skinny fish!” worked on Wally earlier in the season. In other words, it didn’t work, as Alex plopped to the net 2 or 3 times in a row. Probably because light feathers don’t have big fat (sexy) asses.

Eventually, Alex got it, but not until the Bransens had already caught up and the Weavers were long gone (and already driving around Canada screaming “You’re AWESOME, Ted!” and "Dear Lord, please help Ted stay so AWESOME!" every 30 seconds).

The next destination on their Canadian adventure was the Stade Olympique, which absolutely nobody could pronounce. Both the Weavers and the Linzes tried to Americanize it (pronouncing Stade like “Stayed”), while the Bransens over-French-ified it, calling the stadium the “Stadé Olympiahhhque.” Tres francais!

Much of the Weavers’ lead disappeared as they spent what seemed like forever driving around the Stade looking for the lone entrance. This was probably the result of Linda’s brilliant “always go left, because right is the most common” strategy. Don’t even try to understand that one, it’s WAY over your head.

Eventually everyone found their way inside, and made their way to the clue box at center field, where they learned that they would have to search the Stade’s 56,000 seats for the departure times of three charter planes that would leave the next day.

Note to producers: THIS is my favorite type of TAR task! The incredibly frustrating, partly-luck, partly-strategy task. People always lose it and fun drama ensues. More, please!

After hunting around for what seemed like an eternity, the Linz family was the first to find a departure time. Apparently the strategy part of the task (deciding whether or not to take it) was lost, as everyone was so sick of looking that they just took it, and were locked into a departure time of 5:50.

The Bransens seemed to be going into powder-blue meltdown mode, with Walder ranting about his toe and saying he was going to kick someone’s ass. I was afraid he might lose it and pummel all three Bransen Girls right there, but BG#2 found a time shortly after (5:45), and Wally-beast calmed down.

The Weavers, on the other hand, despite being the first family to arrive, were having no luck finding anything. Perhaps because their “looking for departure times” strategy went something line this:

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Rolly was the only one who even seemed to care that they were in the FINAL LEG OF A RACE FOR A MILLION DOLLARS, as he pleaded with his family to keep looking. “Look how many chairs there are, I can’t even count that high,” math-whiz Rebecca responded. Seriously, President Bush, I don’t think that No Child Left Behind thing worked.

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“This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Except for letting my Mom do my highlights.”

After an abundance of pleading, Rolly convinced his family to keep trying, and they eventually found the last departure time: 5:55 am.

Bright and early the next morning, the teams boarded their charter flights for a mystery destination, which turned out to be Toronto. When the planes landed, they proceeded to the CN tower, where they made the 1,100 foot ascent to the observation deck, and used binoculars to search for the yellow flag.

Next up, Detour #2: Ship or Shoe. This choice seemed obvious, since Ship only required the teams to climb to the top of a rope-ladder-thing on a ship to get a flag, while Shoe involved finding the one woman in a room of 100 barefoot ladies who fit the shoe that they chose.

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I don't think it was a coincidence that Toronto General Hospital reported 100 cases of severe Athlete’s Foot that same day.

The Linzes and the Weavers chose Ship, while again, the Bransens went with the opposite. Maybe the producers made them do it because they had already paid the barefoot ladies to show up. Who knows.

Tommy Linz made it up and down the ship-ladder with no problem, and so did Rolly Weaver. The Bransens, on the other hand, seemed to be getting frustrated with their choice of tasks, but eventually found the right feet.

Despite the show’s general boringness, I have to admit I was a little excited at this point. It seemed like anyone could win it, and I was definitely rooting for the Linzes. I like them – they’re fun and competitive. This picture sums them up perfectly – Alex making his patented “insane eyes face,” while Tommy picks his nose.

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Anyway, there was some random pointless boat ride in there, which I won’t even explain, because there is no need. It added nothing besides a couple of funny shots of people getting splashed by water.

The teams made their way back to the U.S., to Lewiston, New York (just barely over the Canadian border), where Phil introduced the final roadblock. However, after last week’s TV-MA Roadblock: Find the Balls, the producers will only allow Phil to be shown from the waist up (sort of like Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan show). The women of America just can’t handle it.

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G rated Phil.

The final task was most appropriate for Family Edition: a giant puzzle of North America.

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If only we could have seen the Weavers try to put this together.

Update: Apparently, the Weaver family did not even bother trying to put the puzzle together. Not that it mattered, anyway. (via Reality Blurred)

The Weavers had fallen pretty far behind, so it was down to Wally Bransen versus Nick Linz. It was close, but in the end, little old Rhode Island came between the Bransens and a million dollars, as Nick finished the puzzle while Wally struggled to find the tiniest state.

So the Linz family (incidentally, my pick to win back in August, thankyouverymuch!) won it all, and went back to Cincinnati, where they opened Ohio’s first curling rink. Yay, Linzes!

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So, that’s it! The season is finally over! What did all of you think? Are you sad to see it end? Or were you totally sick of it, too?

Well, it looks like Season 9 won’t begin until sometime in February 2006, but in the meantime, Karen and I will periodically weigh in on other shows, so keep checking back – and if there’s anything else you watch that you want to know our thoughts on, let us know!!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 3:27 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (44)

December 7, 2005

Goodnight Ladies

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You know how in past seasons, The Amazing Race seems to get more exciting as the number of teams dwindle, until there are only three left, and by the final episode you’re literally on the edge of your seat screaming RUN DAMMMMIT!! at the television? Well, that’s not happening with TAR: Ranch Edition. In fact, I was so bored with last night’s episode that I didn’t really even pay very close attention, and I had to have more than a couple of vodka tonics to make it to the end. Will my recap suffer? Most likely… but you’ll have to keep reading to find out!

The longest leg ever resumed at the ranch located at 15200, which coincidentally is also the number of consecutive days that Rolly Weaver has been wearing this shirt.

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After learning that they were still racing, the surprise clue from Phil instructed the teams to drive themselves 49 miles toward Dubois, Wyoming and find Turtle Ranch. The Godlewskis, newly energized after rebounding from a tearful-near elimination before the Pit Stop fakeout, yelled to Phil, “you’re just torturing us!” To which Phil replied, “I know, I’m torturing you.” Having overheard the whole exchange, Dick Cheney peered out the window of his ranch at 12501 and snickered, “I’ve got some pink hoods and shackles picked out just for you lovely ladies… mwahahahaha!”

The name of the next destination had the Pink Ladies guessing about what might be in store for them. “Maybe we have to go eat some turtles,” Christine said. Ooh I hope so! Turtle milkshakes, please?

On the road again, the Weavers argue over whether to fill up the tank. “We’ll get gas tomorrow,” Linda decides. Hmm, that sounds like a bad idea. I can’t imagine there are loads of gas stations in between those 15,000 acre ranches. Foreshadowing perhaps?

Arriving at the Turtle Ranch, there were no turtles to be found, which was especially disappointing to Rolly because he was really CRAVEing a creamy turtle-based beverage. Instead, the teams found a sign indicating the hours of operation of the ranch: 7:00 am to 4:30 pm. Now, I don’t understand why a ranch would have hours of operation, but I’ll play along.

The overnight stay in the trailers provided yet another opportunity for the Weavers to complain that nobody talks to them (while locking themselves inside their trailer), and for the other teams to complain about how they always complain that nobody talks to them. Sigh. Will one of the Linzes please do it with a Bransen girl or something, please? I’m bored.

Side note: In all honesty, the boringness isn't the players’ fault at all. I actually think the teams are pretty interesting – well the Bransens are kind of boring, but the Linzes are funny, the Godlewskis straddle the love them/they annoy the creaaaap out of me line well, making them entertaining, and the Weavers are totally annoying, but I love to hate them (and according to the 13 year old girls that apparently make up most of the Just Us Moms! readers, Rolly is hottt!). The blame lies with whoever conceived this stupid 90%-U.S. edition. I hope that dumbass was fired.

Anyway, at the crack of dawn, the teams had to race across the now-open-for-business ranch toward a bunch of vans lined up on the road, with drivers waiting to take them to this week’s detour: Pioneer Spirit or Native Tradition. Lame name, but the task actually wasn’t too bad. The choice was between assembling the (very heavy) wheels to a covered wagon, hitching it to some horses and driving ¼ mile, or putting together a big teepee. The Linzes and Bransens chose the wagon, while the Weavers and the Godlewskis decided to tackle the teepee instead. Now, after the pink ladies’ dismal performance in the last construction-oriented detour (the railroad thing), I thought the teepee was a poor choice. And of course, I was right.

The wagon was pretty tough to put together, but ¼ mile wasn’t very far to ride, so the Linzes and Bransens finished first, and were quickly on the road to Cody, Wyoming, 200 miles away.

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Nick Linz’s impersonation of a Godlewski speaking.

The teepee builders, on the other hand, were still hard at work, and it was the Weavers who finished theirs first and presented it to the Chief for approval. “Chief, come into our tribe and we’ll have dinner for you one time,” Linda said to the Chief. “Linda, you go to buffalo and try the banana in the sky too,” the chief replied. Wow, who knew the Chief was fluent in Weaverese?

As predicted, the Godlewskis had trouble with this one, but thanks to the superhuman strength of Chrissy’s beaaaack, they were able to finish and were still in the race.

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It looks like she is struggling, but that’s actually just the face that Christine makes when she poses for a photo.

Next stop, Cody, Wyoming! A bustling town with paved roads and everything. The teams had to find the hotel named after Buffalo Bill’s daughter, and given the booming hotel industry in Cody, Wyoming, you can bet that was a challenge. Inside the hotel, the families had to dress in period clothes and have their pictures taken with “Buffalo Bill.” Seriously folks, I don’t make this creaaaap up. That was really it. Not even the world’s largest buffalo turd or anything.

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Please hurry up and change, I have tickets to a Marilyn Manson show in an hour.

One at a time, the teams dressed up in dorky, poorly-fitted clothes and posed for pictures. Nick Linz asked if they had to wear pants, which really excited Karen for a moment, but then we realized he just meant no costume pants, and not no pants at all. Oh poo. Though if you pretend that they have no pants on, this picture is a lot funnier.

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Probably the best moment of the entire episode came next, as we saw a newly-impatient, competitive side of Wally emerge as the “race” (I’m putting it in quotes now) nears the end and the million-dollar prize is actually in sight. The Linzes were joking around with the photographer and generally being silly, when Walder sternly interjected, “come on guys, pose. Let’s go.” Bransen girl even told him to “chill.” Next week, I predict that Wally is going to bump chests with Nick Linz, Survivor style.

The Bransens finally got their turn, and they loved the photo so much that Wally suggested using it for the family Christmas card.

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Merry Christmas, from Wally Bransen and 3 whores I picked up in Cody, Wyoming.

After the exhilarating take-your-picture-in-stupid-clothes adventure, everyone had to travel 70 miles to a golf course in Red Lodge, Montana, where they found both an un-subtlely-placed product and the next road-blaaaahck.

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Is it a tiny car or a giant Phil?

To answer my own ridiculous question above, it was a tiny car/golf cart – a Buick Lucerne, to be specific. I’m not sure why, but I just love this golf cart so much that I could take it out to dinner. Anyway, it was another two person (3 person if you love your golf cart THAT much) roadblock this week. The teams had to pick a color, and then drive around the golf course looking for four balls of that color.

“All they have to do is search for balls?” Megan Linz asked. Amazingly, her brothers had no comment. Was this one just too easy, guys?

Actually, the ball-hunting proved a challenge for the Linzes, who forgot to look in the hole (oh come on now, some genitalia humor? pleaaaase?) allowing the Bransens to make up some time and ultimately finish in first-place this week. The pit stop was (you guessed it!) at another ranch, where they won a brand-new 2006 Buick Lucerne! The full size one, not the Charla version. Wally loved it so much he immediately invited it over for pasta, and named it Bransen Girl #4.

Just behind them were the almost-always second place Linzes, who along with the Bransens have now secured a spot in the final leg.

So it was the Weavers and the Godlewskis left to battle for last place. After an exciting ride filled with discussion of who looked the most disgusting in their photo, the Weavers made it to the golf course first, and Linda and Rolly started looking for balls. But the pink ladies were not far behind, and they arrived at the green while the Weavers were still there, so I hoped they were still in it. Michelle and Sharon headed out in the Lucerne, and meltdown #3 of the hour ensured almost immediately after Michelle nearly ejected Sheaaaaron from the ceaaaaar at least 3 times.

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They were eventually able to finish the roadblock without Sharon becoming pink roadkill, but the Weavers had a pretty good lead on them, and even a nearly-empty gas tank and a brief run-in with the law couldn’t stop those crazy Weavers, who finished in third place, also guaranteeing them a spot in the final episode. Hopefully they will say more dumb things next week to give me something to write about – this week was a little weak on the stupidity. Frankly, I was disappointed.

And sadly, our beloved pink ladies placed last, and were eliminated. Really, though, this was the third time (if you count last week) that they finished last. And lately, they had gotten kind of annoying. So I didn’t care that much. Or maybe I just don’t give a creaaaap about this show anymore.

Any thoughts? Are you all excited about the big good (Linz) versus evil (Weaver) versus boring (Bransen) showdown next week? Post some comments!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 12:39 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (9)

November 30, 2005

The Neverending Leg (la la la… la la la…)

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I really wanted to title this post TAR goes to the Moon! but since I already did the whole “Utah looks like outer space” bit last week, I decided that would be kind of lame. And just because The Amazing Race: Family Edition is totally lame-o, that doesn’t mean Just Us Moms! has to sink to that level, too. (Don’t worry, I will still sink to the level of incessantly bashing the Weavers. That is still fun.)

The race resumed in the middle of the night in Salt Lake City, Utah (for all our readers with as pitifully limited an awareness as the Weaver family, that’s where Mormons live!). Three teams will begin this leg with $87, and one will have $0. Oh, I hope someone makes the “gee, I wonder who that is?” joke. That one always cracks me up.

Fresh off of the high of their first first-place finish in the last leg, the Linzes were out of the gate first at 12:46 am.

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Alex is either high on more than last week’s win, or he is doing his Barbara Bush impression.

As the Linzes begin to make their way to Park City High School where they will receive their next clue, Megan is complaining that she feels sick. Fortunately, this episode was creatively brought to us by Pepto Bismol, and after a gratuitous shot of the bottle on the counter and a little snippet of Megan singing the praises of the pink stuff, she is all better by the next morning.

Now this sly little bit of product placement got me thinking, maybe Just Us Moms! should get some sponsors, too! Well, I’m happy to report that this recap has been brought to you by OB Tampons. Visit their website, where you can learn the answers to important “frequently asked questions,” like “will I lose my virginity if I use tampons?” You know one of the Weavers submitted that question.

Anyway, back to the show. The Bransens were up next at 1:23 am, and they began by saying exactly what they said last week – that there is tension between the other teams and they hope that it works to their advantage.

They were followed by the Godlewskis at 1:30 am. Christine complained that she hoped that her sisters would get along better and that they were being too hard on her. Geez, did the editors just recycle the clips from last week or something? Maybe I should just call this damn thing TAR goes to the Moon after all.

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Even in a still photo, you can actually see her accent. OMGaaaaad!

Last up were the lovable Jesus-freaks, the Weavers, departing a whole 3-and-a-half hours after the pink ladies. And remember, one team has $0. “Gee, I wonder who that is,” said Rebecca. HAHAHAHAHA. Oh Rebecca, you’re such a card. But fortunately (unless you’re anybody but them), the shuttle buses to the next task don’t leave until 6:00 am. This, of course, sends the Weavers into what I can only assume is a Jesus-juice-induced tirade, as they arrive on the scene honking their horn, screaming incomprehensible nonsense and doing the Waffle-house dance that Rebecca perfected earlier in the season.

“Your Yield didn’t work for us, sucker!” Rebecca screams out the window if their car. “Were you sorry you wasted your Yield?” Linda shrieked in a tone so annoying it could only be topped by the annoyingness of her response to herself: “YOU WILL BE!”

Um, FYI – the Linzes didn’t waste their Yield. The dumbass producers wasted it, by putting in in a non-elimination leg. Duh.

I was hoping at this point that Christine Godlewski would sneaaaap and cheaaaarge full-speed ahead at Linda (screaming AAAAAAAAAA!! all the way) and pile-drive her nasty birds-nest head into the pavement. Sadly, no beaaaaackpeaaaaack-esque breakdown-leading-to-assault took place. If only Carissa Gaghan had been there, you know there would have been a beat-down.

On the way to the next task, Nick Linz channeled Stuart Smalley for a moment: “nobody likes to be yielded in life.” Oh how true.

Upon arriving at the next destination, the Linzes happened upon an interesting sight:

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Why is Michelle Godlewski lying in this field?

Oh wait, those aren’t Michelle’s Grand Tetons, they’re hot air balloons! In this task, teams will help inflate a hot air balloon and take it for a scenic ride over the Utah countryside.

If that sounds boring, never fear! CBS has been hyping a mid-air balloon-collision all week in their TAR promos! Unfortunately, despite the “something scary is about to happen” music and the masterfully-edited-together sound bytes of teams saying “oh my gosh!” it was even less exciting than the also over-hyped Linz-Weaver superkart crash a few weeks ago.

You see, hot air balloons are filled with lots of this hot, air-like substance, making them essentially impossible to “crash.” That obvious logic didn’t stop the Weaver-balloon pilot from saying, “bounced off of ‘em. He’s really lucky.” after the collision. God, is their stupidity contagious? Bouncing off of ‘em would only be lucky if the engineer behind the Hindenburg had filled up their balloon.

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Farting in a hot air balloon is so rude and un-Christian!

Landing, however, appeared to be a little bit tricky, as the Godlewskis wound up on a big pile of rocks, and the Weavers touched down on the side of a pretty steep hill. Linda & Co. did manage to make it out of the big basket and “scooted” down the incline.

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Why is Linda Weaver sliding down the hill on her butt, you ask? I wondered the same thing, but the obvious answer occurred to me later: her anal glands are infected. Linda, you should really see your veterinarian immediately.

After their scenic balloon ride, the teams headed to the historic Heber Valley Railway in Heber City, Utah for this week’s Detour: Spike It or Steam It. This was actually a pretty good Detour, I thought – a choice between assembling a twenty foot section of railroad tracks (“precision” work that required some skill) and hauling coal into a rail car (work that required no skill but could take a while).

All of the teams opted for Spike It except for the Weavers, in what turned out to be a good decision for them, who chose to Steam It. The Linzes worked through the spiking fairly quickly, maintaining their lead over the other teams. The Bransens, with newly-energized Superman Wally in charge, made quick work of the spiking, too. (I must say, Walder looked pretty foxy wielding that sledge hammer, with sweat and railroad dirt all over his face. Rrrowr!)

The pink ladies (now the pinkish-black ladies), on the other hand, had some difficulty with this one. The “stupid music” (that I unsuccessfully tried to explain in my recap last week) was playing again, and this time it was a variation of “I’ve been workin’ on the railroad! Very cute, producers!

Obviously, everything that went wrong was totally Christine’s fault. Poor Christine, her sisters were being a little mean to her this week. However, after they finished the task, a Texas-bound Amtrak train derailed on the section of track that Christine had bolted, killing everyone onboard. Way to go, CHRISTINE!

While the Godlewskis bickered, the Weavers made quick work of the coal-hauling and managed to take the third position, leaving the pink ladies suddenly in last place.

On the 140 mile journey to the Bonneville Salt Flats, Nick Linz boasted about his spike-hammering prowess: “three strokes is all it takes for me,” prompting Tommy to retort, “it’s all it takes in bed too.” I’m not going to ask how Tommy knows that. I’ll just leave that to your (dirty) imaginations.

Eventually, all of the families made it to the next destination: the Tree of Utah, an 87-foot high structure that was “built to bring color and beauty to this stark landscape,” and inspire lots of balls-related comments in this sexually-repressed state.

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Since this thing has three sets of balls, it will take Nick nine strokes.

After stopping at the giant ball-tree / hemmorhoid / something about a poop that I didn’t understand, the teams began a 400 mile drive to Garden City, UT, home of Bear Lake Rendezvous Ranch. Despite leaving the “tree” in first place, the Linz family slipped to last place along the way. What happened? Did they get lost? Were they kidnapped by Mormon missionaries? Nope, just another mysterious car-battery-draining production error. God, this show frickin’ sucks.

Once in Garden City, the families got a chance to sleep, and the next morning, they departed in 15 minute intervals in the same order that they arrived. The Bransens were off first, followed by the Weavers. Rebecca Weaver complained that her “brain was fried, like she had been in math class all day,” noting that she had failed math (twice). In her defense, she failed because her Mom was her math tutor, and Linda was only schooled in “Intelligent Geometry,” where a2 + b2 = Jesus.

The next stop: Dunham Ranch, just past Big Piney, Wyoming. Amazingly, at the very moment that the Weaver car rolled over the Utah-Wyoming border, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir burst into a rousing rendition of “Hallelujah!” Coincidence? I think not.

The Godlewskis were next, and Christine was complaining that she had a stomach ache. Unfortnately, Pepto Bismol was not willing to pay for two sponsorships in one episode, so Christine had to go unmedicated. Poor Christine.

Once in Wyoming, two members from each team had to participate in this week’s roadblock: a totally boring version of the old “herding some small animal from one corral to another” challenge. Each duo had a professional cowboy to help them. So basically it was a ¼ mile horsey ride. Riveting.

Back on the road again (god how frickin’ long is this episode?), and this time, the producers used mother nature fairly creatively to create another bunching point. The teams had to find a fireman (who had obviously taken multiple Xanax) at Yellowstone National Park, where they would wait by Old Faithful until they saw an eruption (which occurs every 92 minutes).

The Bransens and the Weavers made it to the geyser in time for the 4:28 eruption, so they got a 92 minute lead on the other two teams who missed it by just a few minutes. As they passed the other teams on the way out, Rebecca Weaver said, “I hope the other teams have to wait.” I know you’re not a math whiz, Becky, but if the damn thing spurts once every 92 minutes, I don’t think you need to hope. Unless, of course, Nick Linz tries his patented “three strokes” technique, but that hasn’t been tested on an actual geyser yet.

The two leading teams are now making their way to another ranch, where, according to the episode summary on my TiVo, “something unexpected will happen.” I was hoping that the surprise would be that it was actually the Cheney ranch, and that a jeans-clad Dick C. would welcome the teams to Wyoming (using only one side of his face, of course) at the mat! But no. Phil was all alone in his rancher outfit.

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I’m too sexy for this fence.

The big surprise: this leg is not over! Oh my god, please kill me now. I feel like I’ve been watching this leg for the past month.

Seriously, are they ever going to eliminate another team? I’m so bored I actually slipped into a coma while writing this recap. Please call 911, now.

What did all of you think? Is anyone even watching this show anymore? Or are you all so bored, you’ve become cybersex addicts, instead? If so, tune in to CBS 2 News at 11!

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Posted by Linda Ruiz at 3:26 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (7)

November 23, 2005

TAR goes to Mars!

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Teams must travel 120,000,000 miles via jet-propulsion spacecraft to Mars, the Red Planet. There, they will choose one of four GMC sport-utility Mars-rovers and drive themselves to Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the universe (and the 2nd dumbest volcano Rachel Weaver ever saw).

Oops, wait. That’s not Mars, it’s Utah! But they look surprisingly similar, don’t you think? Hmm, I wonder if Martians have weird anti-alcohol, pro-polygamy lifestyles, too.

Anyway, back on boring ol’ planet earth (Lake Powell, Arizona, to be more precise), the Godlewski girls were off and running first, following their back-to-back wins last time. Phil’s offscreen voice mused, “will the Weaver family’s continued alienation from other teams affect their performance?” Let’s hope so! Yay, continued alienation!

The first clue directed the teams to drive themselves 136 miles to Maaaahnument Veaaaalley Neaaaavajo Triiiiebal Peaaaark (could they have picked a destination more prone to Godlewski-linguistic-massacre?), and find John Ford’s Point.

Before we could even get on to the road, the editors treated us to some classic Weaver delusions. “The world we live in is obviously not loving and kind, so I think we're just sticking out because we're just not as crude,” said Rebecca. Mom Weaver followed up with, “it's against our beliefs to keep being treated so rudely, but we can't let it bother us.” Yay, I guess we’re in for another hour of unbridled “Christian” hypocrisy!

Wally Bransen then explained to us that he wants to be more aggressive this leg. Unfortunately, uttering the word “aggressive” raised his blood pressure so high that he had a heart attack and died instantly.

Back on the road, the teams seemed to be having some trouble finding the Neaaaavajo thing, despite the fact that Utah has like 2 roads and is essentially nothing but a giant red sand pit. The Linzes drove right past the sign, followed by the Weavers and then the Godlewskis. Not a major problem, though, as everyone quickly realized this and turned around.

But the Godlewskis had some difficulty with the turning around part (did I mention that they were driving giant trailers?), and Christine left the vehicle to help her sister neaaaavigate the turn. Ever since the episode with the beaaaaackpeaaaaack incident the ladies have been extra hard on Christine, saying she talks too much and rolling their eyes every time she speaks. Even the producers joined in the game by playing the “somebody’s doing something dumb!” music (“dohm, DOHM, dohm, DOHM, deeedle deeedle duhhhn duhhhhhhh, dohm DOHM dohm DOHM…”) while she tried to get the trailer turned around. Poor Christine. She’s just a little high strung.

Meanwhile, Bransen Girl offered some thoughts on the inter-team dynamics. “There is obviously some tension between the Linzes and the Godlewskis toward the Weavers. We just hope it will benefit us.” “We’re neutral,” Wally added, comparing himself to Switzerland. A slow, chubby, doofy, Switzerland.

Next, two members of each team had to take a helicopter ride (aww, Marion wanted to go for a helicopter ride! Poor Marion.) to the top of a giant Elephant’s Butt! Whoa, cool. Actually, it was an Elephant’s Butte. Very different from Butt. (Butte = giant rock thing, while Butt = ass). It’s too bad that Lori & Bolo weren’t there, because you know they totally would have pronounced it Butté, and a joke about an Elephant’s Bootay would have been so much funnier.

The helicopters held a maximum of four people, and the Weavers and the Godlewskis made it on the first one. The view was breathtaking, but Rachel Weaver was not impressed (it was the dumbest Butte she ever saw).

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Shanequa and Tashonda Weaver await the return of Rebecca and Rolly.

The Bransens had not yet arrived when the first ‘copter returned, so two of the Linz boys went next.

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Sweet: one of the five words in the Linz vocabulary. FYI, the others are “dude,” “yo,” “girlies,” and, surprisingly, “tapenade.”

Next stop, Moab, Utah (Are you excited yet?). The teams would have to find the Gemini Bridges, a pretty cool-looking rock formation.

Note to producers: An abundance of cool-looking things does not make up for the lack of Indian subways and gross food-eating challenges. I want to watch Linda Weaver throw up on herself. Please? Some very spicy soup? Pretty please?

The teams were on the road again. Nick Linz took an opportunity to zoom past the Weaver-mobile on the highway.

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Do not attempt to do the Macarena while driving.

After passing them, one of the Linz boys called the Weavers “the wicked witch of the east and her three monkeys,” and another replied, “someone’s gonna come and drop a house on her head!” Oh no he didn’t! That was so awesome! I didn’t even have to pretend Carissa Gaghan said it. You Linzes are such BITCHES! I’m starting to love them.

Wally wondered out loud what the next task might be. “I hope it’s something adventurous,” Bransen Girl said. To which Walder replied, “I could go for something tranquil and boring.” Oh Walder, don’t worry. This is the Family Edition. I’m sure it will be boring.

The Gemini Bridges were the site of this week’s Detour: Ride Down (ride 6 miles on a bike) or Drop Down (rappel 270 feet down a cliff). Um, try repelling UP a cliff. As Karen can attest, it’s a little bit harder.

All of the teams opted for the (obviously much faster) Drop Down, except for the Weavers who chose the bikes.

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Wait, there’s an Alex Linz? When the hell am I going to learn everyone’s names?

While the rappelling was pretty easy, Christine Godlewski had a little difficulty.

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Ouch, my Butte!

The Weavers were also having some trouble with the bikes. “I don’t think Lance Armstrong could make it through this,” Rachel said. Sweetie, I think Lance Armstrong could make it though a 6 mile course if he pedaled with his balls. And one of them is probably fake.

After the Detour, the teams had to drive 52 miles to Green River State Park, where they would be spending the night in their trailers. During the drive there, an obviously-edited-in-later Phil voice explained to us that “due to a production error involving the camera equipment, the Godlewski’s car battery was drained. A replacement vehicle was provided, but they have fallen into last place.”

OK, did that make any sense to anyone else? Because I did not understand what he was talking about at all. Did they have to juice up the camera battery with the car battery? I don’t get it. And why should they be penalized for a “production error?” Don’t they usually “correct” production errors (I remember teams getting extra minutes in the past)? Whatever, this season is so boring anyway. It might as well be illogical and unfair, too.

During the overnight stay, the Weavers once again start complaining about their social predicament (that everyone hates them). “We go and talk to people, but they don’t reciprocate,” says Linda. Hmm, I don’t remember any talking. Maybe they’re referring to the time that they threw garbage at the Godlewskis. I hear that’s how monkeys sometimes attempt to communicate with humans.

The next morning, the teams are allowed to leave 15 minutes apart, in the order that they arrived. The Linz family was first at 7:00 am, followed by the Weavers, the Bransens and the productionally-challenged Godlewskis.

The teams had to drive themselves to Heber City, Utah and find Bart, a giant but cute bear. The 20 mile drive was an occasion for some positive Christian behavior on the part of the Weavers. “That’s so ugly,” one of the Weaver monkeys said of the Utah scenery. “You wish you were Lance Armstrong,” Rolly yelled at random cyclists on the road. So hypocritical. Oh wait, maybe not. I just re-read Linda’s comment at the beginning. “It's against our beliefs to keep being treated so rudely,” she said. So, their religion doesn’t allow other people to be mean to them, but they can be humongous assfaces all the time! It totally makes sense now!

After Bart the bear “gave” the teams the next clue, they had to drive 22 miles to Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. But caution, Yield ahead! OH HELLZ YEAH! I am excited now, because the Linzes are in the lead, and surely they’ll Yield the Weavers which will (a) cause them to go (more) insane, and (b) probably lead them to be eliminated. Yippee!

True to their pact with the pink ladies, the Linz family Yielded the Weavers. Tommy offered the following explanation. “Because they’re behind us, it will give us a good separation. Hopefully it will give us our first place spot.” In other words, “They suck. We hate them. Die die die.”

Fresh off of the high of sticking it to the Weavers, Nick Linz prepared to do this week’s road-blaaaahck: a ski jump down a 60 foot ramp into a pool of water. (No, there was no bobbing for bananas afterward.) Nick Linz tried to do a fancy 360 degree flip off of the jump, but undershot it by a bit.

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Face plant!

They Weavers had not yet arrived when the Linzes left the park, prompting Alex to wonder if they had been eaten by the bear? Silly Alex, Bart won’t eat just anything. He does have standards.

Actually, the Weavers were late because they took the very scenic route to the Olympic Park, which provided them ample time to take in all of Utah’s stupid and crappy scenery. (Note to my Mormon readers: I actually think your state is quite beautiful! If only you would stop lynching the gays, think of how great it would be!) Their little “detour” landed the delusional disciples (I updated their team name, Karen) in fourth place when they arrived at the park.

The Weaver’s fate seemed to be sealed, and they knew it as they drove to the park. “Accept it, we'll be last today and we'll be eliminated,” Linda said. “The family who wins it will probably spend the money on a new nose and bigger boobs,” replied one of her daughters.

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The last thing Michelle Godlewski needs is bigger boobs.

Mrs. Weaver then offered some advice on dealing with sadness. “When you’re sad, eat some ice cream. It revigorates and injuvenates you.” True dat, Linda. I just ate a whole quart and I feel emvitalized and repowered already.

Arriving at the Yield with their trademark blend of denial, delusion and insanity, the Weavers ran to the mat yelling, “We’re the first ones here! YAYYYYYYYY!” Um, no you’re not, monkeys! You’re in last place! Now cry, dammit!

While the Weavers sat on the ground and whined, the Linz siblings were already in Salt Lake City, the home of this week’s pit stop. They finally finished in first place (though they have been my pick to win on the CBS.com “Fantasy League” every week. Maybe now I’ll finally win that $200 gas card!), and they were greeted by Phil and a special guest – Miss Latin Utah!

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I am the most beautiful of all of the three Latin women in Utah.

As a reward for their first first-place finish, the Linzes won a trip for four to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where they will stay at Teton Mountain Lodge, just minutes from Grand Teton National Park. They were obviously excited, but I was hoping for the requisite reaction to Phil’s using the word “Teton” twice in 10 seconds. Hmm, maybe Teton Mountain Lodge forbade the obvious Michelle Godlewski joke.

The Bransens arrived in second place, followed by the Grand Pink Tetons, the Godlewski ladies. The Weavers were wayyyy behind in fourth place, and since (a) there was a Yield on this leg, and (b) they always make the second-to-last leg a non-elimination round, the Weavers were sure to be eliminated. Yay!

Overflowing with excitement, I was already doing the happy dance around my living room as Weavermonkeys arrived at the Pit Stop. “Weaver Family,” Phil began, “you’re the last team to arrive.” I was midway though a rousing rendition of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” when he followed that up with, “I’m pleased to tell you….” WHAT???? Oh for Christ’s sake, HOW COULD THIS BE A NON-ELIMINATION LEG? Damn you, producers!

So I guess the Weavers will live to see another day. And after Phil’s second pep talk in a row, they seem to be totally revigorated and injuvenated and ready for what’s in store next. Poop.

I hope everyone out there has an enlaxing Thanksgiving! See you next week!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 2:33 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (5)

November 10, 2005

Faith in God(lewski), Part Two

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Fast forward through the 9:00 pm commercial break and 12 “real” hours have passed. It’s now 11:43 pm and the teams are ready to resume their race around the world Arizona. The first-place (and hopefully unsteaaaapable) Godlewski gals get to depart first, followed by the Weaver and Linz clans.

Bringing up the rear, of course, are the Paolo and Bransen families. Thankfully, they have changed into something a little more respectable, because, you know, the underpants on top of underpants on top of pants look is just soooo episode 5, and it really only works with pink underpants anyway.

The Bransens were forced to beg for money, so they headed off to the casino where Wally pimped his daughters out for cash. “Can you give us some money? You might lose it anyways,” Bransen girl said to some casino patrons. Actually, I think they may have been prostitutes. Begging for cash from prostitutes at a casino – who said TAR:FE was watered down?

“Drive yourselves 33 miles to Mesa, Arizona,” the first clue reads, “and find Williams Gateway Airport.” Yay, an Airport! Where to next – India? South Africa? Maybe Marion will actually get to go to New Zealand? Um, no. The airport is the destination. Screw you Bertram Van Munster for getting my hopes up. I think we can safely bet that the remainder of the race will take place inside the U.S. Too bad, I was still holding out hope that the teams might travel to India and take the train. Can you imagine Marion’s reaction?

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You expect me to cram my ass into that frickin’ thing? What are you, nuts?

On the way to Mesa, the Linz car was pulled over by the police, but one of the boys deftly avoided getting a ticket by explaining to the officer that they were “racing other cars.” (Linda’s travel tip of the week: You see, in Arizona, traffic laws only apply to cars that are not racing each other. You’re also allowed to steal things if you’re on a “scavenger hunt,” and kill people if you’re “hunting humans.”)

At the airport road-blaaaahck, the teams have to grab a number to determine the order of the next task, which will begin at 4:30 am. Despite departing first, neaaaavigational difficulties cause the pink ladies fall to third place during the 33 mile journey, and the Weavers giddily snatch up the number one spot.

Of course, it made absolutely no difference, since the first three teams began the task simultaneously. Perhaps Jesus just got sick of their nagging and granted them a little “victory,” albeit a meaningless one.

On the way to the airport, Marion hoped that the roadblock might be a helicopter ride! “Yeah a helicopter ride, that’d be fun for you. What are you nuts?,” Tony quipped. Please, I think Marion could handle a little helicopter ride – she had no problem with the bungee jump (despite being tethered to her shrieking son). You need to slap that wise ass husband upside the head, Marion!

The roadblock this week was actually pretty cool – one person from each team had to take control of a fighter plane and perform a 360 degree loop in the air. Rolly Weaver, Megan Linz and Sharon Godlewski were up first.

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Nick farted in Megan’s plane before she got in. I think it’s safe to say the sugar scent is gone.

All three completed the task on the first attempt.

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Holy creaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaap!

Next up were Brian Paolo and Bransen Girl. Brian was visibly nervous, but he looked cute in his little fighter pilot costume.

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These two both had a little trouble the first time (something about overshooting the parameters which I didn’t understand), but were successful on attempt #2. And nobody barfed. What would happen if you barfed on a 360 degree loop? Sadly, we may never know.

Next, the teams had to drive 277 miles to the “largest pothole in the world,” the Grand Canyon! 277 miles means a lot of hours on the road. Plenty of time for highway hijinks like the Weavers throwing garbage out the window of their car at the Godlewskis! You might think that would violate the “Christian lifestyle” they hold so dear, but since there is no commandment that specifically outlaws garbage-throwing, I think they’re in the clear. I have a call into the Lord’s Director of Policy to clarify – I’ll keep you posted.

While fast-forwarding through the commercial break, I happened to notice that there was some sort of election going on in the “real” world.

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Why are they showing the NYC election results on my TV? I live in Palmdale, CA! Weird.

The Grand Canyon trip turned out to be more of a stopover than a layover, and the teams got to spend all of 5 seconds viewing one of the great wonders of the natural world before heading off on another 137 mile road trip. This was a major disappointment for all of the teams except the Weavers, of course, who thought they were visiting yet another one of the Great Lakes. “This is the dumbest Great Lake I ever saw,” Rebecca exclaimed! “It’s totally dried up.” “Yeah, like your Mom’s face,” Carissa Gaghan retorted. OH NO SHE DIDN’T!! Seriously, Carissa. That was way over the line. (I’ll stop now. I promise.)

“Retards,” Carissa muttered, before sprinting off to finish the Grand Canyon Marathon 2005.

(Seriously, I’m done.)

After an ascent to the top of a giant dam, which was kind of pointless (except that it provided some cool aerial shots of the teams looking like tiny ants running across it), Phil explained to us that this week’s Detour would take place at Arizona’s majestic Horseshoe Bay while standing precariously close to a huge cliff overlooking that majestic wonder.

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Personally, I love it when Phil flirts with death for no apparent reason whatsoever. Perhaps before the season is over, we’ll be treated to another tethered-to-the-top-of-a-skyscraper stunt? Pretty please?

Unfortunately, on the way to the Detour, the Paolos made the most common of TAR mistakes – not stopping to ask directions because it might waste time. Oh why does nobody ever listen to Marion?

While the Paolos drove aimlessly around the southwest, the rest of the teams started arriving at the majestic Horseshoe Bay. This week’s Detour was a choice between Bearing and Bailing. In Bearing, the teams have to use a compass to follow several coordinates by boat to get to the clue. In Bailing, a semi-submerged boat must be un-submerged and carried ashore.

The Weavers chose Bearing, while the rest of the teams all opted to Bail. The Linz family made up some ground here, and they were the first team to head off to the Pit Stop, which was 14 miles away on a house boat on Lake Powell.

Update: Just got a clarification from the Lord’s office. Apparently garbage throwing is OK, but only while “racing other cars” in Arizona. Otherwise it’s a mortal sin punishable by eternal damnation. Whew, close one Weavers!

When the Linz kids arrived at the lake, they had some trouble starting up their motor boat, but eventually got it going. “The [pink] ladies are going to take forever to figure out how to do this,” one of the boys said. “And they might not,” replied Megan.

Boy was she right. Despite Trish nearly capsizing the vessel, speed-demon Sharon got that boat started in 2 seconds flat and somehow they managed to pass the Linz boat on the lake (while all four of them chanted “woo woo woo nyah nyah na na na nyah” and bounced up and down)! OMG the pink ladies are so awesome.

For the second leg in a row, the Godlewskis finished first! Yay ladies!! As they arrived on the mat, Phil told them they as the winners of this leg of the race, they had won a Jay Flight 27BH !!! Their reaction was the same as mine, and I think this picture captures it perfectly.

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The Linz crew arrived next, and Phil reminded them that they had again been whooped by a group of pink-clad blondes. “Maybe they’ll be nice and treat us to one of their prizes after,” one of the boys responded. Hah, nice try guys. They’ve already ordered the pink custom-detailing on the Jay Flight 27BH (with a vanity plate that says OMGAAAAD).

Next up was the Weaver family, who seemed quite unhappy with their third-place finish. Phil asked them what was wrong, and to the sound of sad piano music in the background (which was supposed to tug at our heartstrings, I guess?), they told Phil how they were all alone in the race, and it was hard being the only family who was “living a Christian lifestyle.” Even the random kid at the mat could tell they were idiots.

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Who let these buttheads on my houseboat?

With three teams on the mat, once again it came down to the Bransens versus the Paolos. The Bransens were finishing the Detour as the Paolos arrived, but remember what happened last week… err… one hour ago! Anything could happen!! (But I know they’re probably going to get eliminated. Sigh.)

While “Bailing,” the Paolos expressed their love for one another the way they do best.

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Thankfully, nobody was actually murdered at the majestic Horseshoe Bay, but the Paolos never were able to make up the time they lost on the road, and the Bransens beat them handily to finish in fourth place.

The elimination of the Paolos was definitely a sad moment (the second half of my recap was late because I spent the better part of yesterday a fetal position, bawling. I’m OK now, though. I’ve moved on.) Now I can just look forward to watching Marion mop the floor with Linda Weaver in a wrestling match in Battle of the Network Reality Stars 2007! Yay!!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 6:12 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (4)

November 9, 2005

Faith in God(lewski), Part One

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Whew, I am tired today! Was it really necessary to make last night a TAR-doubleheader? You kept me up way past my bedtime, CBS!

This week, the race resumed in sunny Costa Rica where the Paolos led the pack. “I’m trying not to think about the pain in my legs,” said Marion. No, she was not referring to DJ (he is a pain in another body part). I think she just overexerted herself during the mad-dash-to-the-finish last time. Poor Marion.

The first clue directed the teams to travel on foot to a beach where they would have to swim out to a buoy with the next clue attached. Frickin’-Monster Tony volunteered, but despite his impressive performance in “Bananas,” he ran into some difficulty with this one.

“Daddy can swim, he just takes his time,” said Marion. He certainly did take his time, clinging to the buoy and screaming for help until a team of swimmers sailed out to his rescue. Poor Tony. Thankfully his sons were there to offer some helpful advice: “Dad, don’t drown!”

Bransen girl offered an equally helpful suggestion as Wally (or Walder... can someone please explain that one to me? I don’t get it.) dove into the ocean. “You’re a fish! A skinny fish!” Ladies, I tried that one with Karen when she was climbing that big rock. (“You’re a spider! A skinny spider!”) It didn’t work.

My favorite advice, though, was offered by the Godlewski ladies. Even better – it was nonverbal (screams of “come on Sheaaaaaaron” literally made my dog cry last week). Afraid that their sister had forgotten how to swim, the pink ladies demonstrated for her.

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Your aaaaarms Sheaaaaron! Use your aaaaarms!

The Weavers were bringing up the rear, and Rolly volunteered to swim to the buoy. Of course, his family didn’t need to offer any advice, since they have a direct VIP link to you-know-who.

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Who loves short shorts? The Lord loves short shorts.

The underwater clue told the teams to travel by taxi to La Iglesia de Metal (the Metal Church). I was really hoping it was a reference to this scary band, and that the teams would have to do some sort of metal-band-Satan-worship challenge, like putting on black makeup and biting the heads off of small animals.

Sadly, it was just a church made of metal. But the teams were greeted by an altar boy with special powers.

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Go go gadget clue-hand!

“Holy crap, we gotta go all the way to town,” Marion exclaimed! Poor Marion. Wait a minute, you’re taking a frickin’ taxi. She’s complaining a bit much, but I do love it when she says “holy crap” and when Tony says “unbelievable!” They use them sort of like “Aloha,” you know – they can mean almost anything: hello!, goodbye!, hooray!, go to hell!, whaaaa??!?, fuggetaboutit!!, etc. It’s all about the context.

Side Note (to the editors): Dear editors, Can you please stop splicing in that sound byte of Tony Paolo screaming “son of a bitch!” in every episode? The camera always pans away at the moment he says it. We like creative editing, but we’re not stupid. Cordially, Linda.

The Paolo-isms are certainly better than the Weaver-schtick of adding a frickin' “o” to the end of every word. Wait-o for me-o, yelled Rolly as they raced toward the taxi. Holy crap-o, that’s getting old.

60 crappy frickin' miles later, the teams reached this week’s Detour: Brush or Barrel. In Brush, the teams had to travel 10 miles to an ox cart factory (factoria del cart-o ox-o) and finish decorating two partially-decorated cart wheels with paints. In Brush, they had to travel the same distance to a sugar cane plantation, where they had to load one ton of sugar cane onto a tractor-thing and haul it to a factory a few miles away. Then they had to find the clue hidden in a barrel inside a nearby warehouse.

What the teams didn’t know, was that choosing Barrel had an added twist: a sugar-scented butt. The bumpy tractor ride caused... let’s just say... a very intimate experience between Tommy Linz and a sugary stick. On the plus side: Megan could now look forward to his farting in enclosed spaces. Mmmm, candy farts! ‘Tis the season!

The Paolos also chose Barrel, and strongman-Tony redeemed himself after the swimming fiasco. Hauling huge armfuls of sugar cane, he reminded is that he is... the frickin’ monster. I love his guttural screams as he tossed each pile onto the tractor. So manly. Rrrrowr!

“I’ll have more muscles than I have brains in my head when I’m done with this race,” said Marion. Oh, was she right. Just Us Moms! has obtained this exclusive photo of Marion after the race.

The other three teams (the estrogen majority) opted for Brush, which seemed the sensible choice to me. The pink ladies were having a little too much fun playing with all the pretty colors and trying to make them look perfect, and their twenty minute lead over the Weavers evaporated as the Disoriented Disciples arrived after but finished before them. Come on gals, it’s not a frickin’ art project! Holy crap!

After the Detour, it was back to the aeropuerto and off to... Phoenix, Arizona? Unbelievable! To which Marion Paolo remarked, “Why the hell are we going to Phoenix? I wanna go to New Zealand!” Oh, I so want you to go to New Zealand, too, Marion. But this is TAR:FE (The Amazing Race: Frickin’ [lame] Edition).

The Linz family made it to the airport first and got the very last seats on a Delta Airlines flight that would land in Phoenix at 9:35 the next morning. Lucky them! Except that there was another flight that got in 15 minutes earlier and had plenty of seats remaining. D’oh!

The Weavers seized the opportunity to confront DJ Paolo in the airport about the decision to Yield them, leading to a fun exchange. Rather than giving an honest answer (everyone hates you), DJ told Linda that they chose to Yield them because they were in last place, and it was an effort to “definitively knock a team out.”

The Weavers response:

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Linda then said, “well let’s just be friends, we’ve been nothing but friendly to you.” (Hmmm... I seem to remember otherwise, unless in Florida, “retard” is a term of endearment.)

DJ responded, “Well, right now it’s the final 5...” but Linda cut him off, saying, “Well you don’t have any Yields left and we do, sweets!”

Carissa Gaghan then gave three snaps up (in Z formation), and said, “Oh no she DIDN’T!” Oh snap snap snap!! (I know she was eliminated last week. Shut up. You know she was at home, snapping in her living room.)

While the Linz team was changing planes in Atlanta, the other four families had a stopover in New York. No problemo, except that the connecting airline had no record of the Godlewskis' reservation (which we watched them make on the chaaaarge caaaard just moments in TV-time earlier). Uh oh, major problemo! Actually no, they just hopped over to New York’s sixth borough, Newark, to board another flight that arrived at exactly the same time. Whew!

So all of the teams made it to Phoenix (where incidentally, it was hotter than snot. I need a Dan-Ratherese to English dictionary to understand that one, but I guess snot = hot?) within 15 minutes of each other. Next stop: another raceway! No party bikes this time. Supercarts, instead!

The pink ladies got there first, and the lovely Michelle made quick work of the road-blaaaahck.

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Only 23 more leaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaps!

Obviously, the Weavers were unhappy about this one, but Linda stepped up to the plate. Seeing that the Weaver kids were having a hard time, the pink ladies approached them to try to reassure them that everything would be OK. “Your dad would be proud of you,” Sharon said. As soon as she left, Rebecca Weaver said, “I hate the desperate housewives. They’re so annoying, and they lie.” Oh Rebecca. If they are so awful, why did Jesus name them GODlewski? Hmmmmm?

Despite the best efforts of the editors to make us think that Tommy Linz’s supercart might crash into Linda Weaver (the oh-so-popular dramatic pre-commercial-break shrieking slow-mo bit) causing a fiery explosion that would kill everyone within 50 feet, nothing really happened, and Linda completed the 50 laps with virtually no problem.

The exciting news, though, is that the Godlewskis surged ahead, from near-elimination two weeks ago, to first place! Unbelievable! To my delight, the resulting shrieking and perfectly synchronized bouncing up and down was even pinker and more animated than usual. Holy crap, indeed.

The Weavers finished second, and after making up substantial time at the raceway, the Linz family finished a close third.

The battle for fourth place, though was a truly amazing moment. In fact, I’m sure it will be one of the “Amazing Achievements in Race History brought to you by GMC” (or whatever the heck it's called) that they’ll show during a commercial break for TAR 17. (Of course, by then, no one will see it, because everyone will have TiVo. Screw you, GMC!)

The Paolos arrived at Fort McDowell (the Pit Stop) after finishing the roadblock last, but what they didn’t know was that the Bransens got semi-lost on the way there (the Bransen girls have the Kami & Karli disorder of running around really fast but not knowing where they’re going. You should listen to Walder, girls!) and they had not yet arrived at the Pit Stop.

Assuming that they were last, the Paolos began performing the “underpants on top of underpants on top of pants” ritual, only to be interrupted by the sight of the Bransen car arriving (my screams at the television of “HOLY CRAP! RUN TO THE PIT STOP MARION!!!!” went unheard, except by my neighbors).

The Paolos made a mad dash to the mat (like last time, only sillier looking), and arrived in a triumphant, very-tighty-whitey-clad, fourth-place finish! Unbelievable!

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The Bransens arrived last, but the Paolos reminded them that it might be a non-elimination leg. After donning all of their (much smaller) underpants, they arrived at the Pit Stop in last place.

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Women in underpants do not cry, my dear.

In his best “pretend to look very sad” fakeout voice, Phil greeted them by saying, “Bransen family... You’re the last team to arrive. I’m... PLEASED to tell you this is non-elimination leg!” Oh joy! The ladies and Walder are still in it!

But will they be able to catch up? Find out next week... err... holy crap! Two episodes in a row! I’m way too tired to write another recap, though... so this is all you’ll get for now. Part Deux coming soon, I promise!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 5:09 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (2)

November 2, 2005

The dumbest family I ever saw

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First, let me say that I really think this season has some potential now! Wasn’t last night’s episode great?

The teams started off at the Panama Canal, where last week’s victors, the Paolos (yay!) led the pack. The bickering literally began instantly, with DJ threatening to kick someone in the head if they start fighting (haven’t you already “started” fighting, if you say that?). Oh DJ, you’re all talk – but we all heard your girly-scream last week. I’m sure Marion could take you down!

Next stop: San Jose, Costa Rica! No aeroplano this time, but at least it’s not San Jose, California.

The Weavers were up next. One of the booty-shorts-loving girls told us: “we were raised not to trust anyone but our family and God.” Hmm, that explains a lot.

The Weavers heard the other teams talking about them, but it doesn’t matter because (hypocrisy drumroll please...) they’re Christian, and they’re “above all that.” Yeah sure, they would never call the Paolos “retards,” or make fun of the fact that Mr. Paolo is a garbage man, or say that Brian Paolo “looks like a squirrel,” or say that they hope the Godlewski’s boobs “cost a lot because they never wear a bra.” Because they’re above all that.

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I am also above using conditioner. Jesus didn’t need conditioner!!

One of the Linz boys came up with a brilliant strategy for this leg: “hey guys, let’s get first this time!” Duh, why didn’t they think of that before? It’s much better than the Gaghan’s dumb “just pass one team each week” strategy. No wonder the Linz family is America’s pick to win it all!

Side Note: Why do my two favorite teams, the Godlewskis and the Paolos, have the lowest two scores of any of the remaining teams in the CBS popularity poll? What is wrong with you, America? How can 16% of you love the Weavers, but only 7% love the Paolos and 3% love the Godlewskis? I’ve voted about 50 times, but seriously, I only have so much free time on my hands. I’m a busy woman (as you can tell from my 75 paragraph recap). Help me out! It’s your civic duty, people!

Speaking of the ladies luck, since last week was a non-elimination leg, the peppy posse of pink was forced to begin this segment without any money. Remind me why they do this again? I think it’s kind of pointless. The only time it ever really matters is if a team starts off broke in Africa at 2:00 am and needs to get a cab. But four blond ladies hunting for cash in Central America isn’t much of a challenge.

The Gaghans were off and running, too, and despite Carissa’s idea to run all the way to Costa Rica (600 miles at 7 minutes per mile = only 70 hours. Wheels, WHEELS, WHEELS!!!), they opted to take the bus like everyone else.

Apparently the Weaver-hate is now unanimous. The Paolos got to the bus station first and began directing all of the other teams to the ticket counter in an effort to help other teams get there before Team Florida. Nevermind that it was pointless, because all the teams were going to be bunched together again at the (stupid) volcano. It was still fun.

Weaver-hate-fever didn’t stop the pink ladies from hitting the disoriented disciples up for cash, though, and the Weavers obliged (suckers!).

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Jesus says to give me some ceaaaash.

Michelle assured her sisters that they would “backstab” them later. Ha! Didn’t I say Michelle was awesome (and gorgeous)?

Fast forward to Costa Rica, and we heard a new nickname from the Weavers: “The Brady Bunch.” Since there were no teams of 3 boys, 3 girls, their parents and a maid, I couldn’t figure out who they were talking about. Did anyone else understand it? Hmm, well, who cares. It probably made about as much sense as calling the Paolos “The Cleavers,” anyway.

The Weavers and Gaghans got lost for a bit, but a quick prayer followed by some angelic heavenly music and they found the way. Oh you zany sound editors, pulling out the old Brandon & Nicole effects. I love it.

But when they arrived at Heaven, aka the (stupid) volcano, the gates were closed. Oooh, a Christian metaphor. That’s deep. I think. I don’t know, I just don’t like them.

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The stress of the Race drove Rachel to start smoking.

The Gaghan kids got in some shuteye on the way to Mount Stupid.

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Proof that Carissa Gaghan is not a robot. Unless she is a very cute, sleepy robot.

Once the gates opened, all of the teams ran to the volcano to grab the next clue. The Weavers were unimpressed, as someone from their car exclaimed “that was the dumbest volcano I ever saw.” (And she has seen plenty of volcanoes, trust me!) To which Carissa replied, “um, have you seen your Mom?” Oh no she DIDN'T!!! Actually, she didn’t. Robo-Carissa was still snoring away in the van, but you know she dreamed it.

I guess I shouldn’t assume it was one of the Weaver daughters who called the volcano stupid. Maybe she was in the car. “Bitch, please! I don’t care about no crappy volcano!”

The clue directed the families to drive 17 miles to the Doka Estate coffee plantation.

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Mmmm. A coffee waterfall!

The Weavers needed a little help with directions, because they weren’t sure if they should go “righto” or “lefto.” Yeah, that volcano was a total dumbass.

Caution, Yield ahead! Oh YAY!! Of course, everyone wanted to yield the Weavers, but the Paolos made it there first, so they got to do the honors.

This week’s road-blaaaahck was my absolute favorite type of TAR challenge. The “needle in a haystack” challenge, if you will. Some teams zip through it rapido, and others not so much. Frustration abounds, and more importantly, teams can truly make up (or lose) a LOT of ground here. Personally, I think this is what has been (mostly) missing from this season – challenges that really have the potential to shake up the order. But this one did.

The teams had to choose one member to hunt through a pile of 800 pounds of coffee beans to find the single red bean. The Godlewskis clarified the instructions for Tricia: “you have to look and see which one looks different.”

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OMGaaad, I figured it out, girls! You have to find the one that looks different! Shhhh… don’t tell anyone!

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Fortunately for Bransen Girl, her early-onset osteoporosis was an advantage in this task.

Later, the Weavers arrived to find out that the Paolos had Yielded them, and let’s just say they weren’t very “Christian” in their reaction.

Oh by the way, did you know that when the Schroeder’s home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, all of the families offered help except for one? Yeah, they’re “above all that” helping thy neighbor stuff. (via Reality Blurred)

Although I was hoping the Weavers would get stuck at the bean hunt, it was Tammy Gaghan that had a really hard time, forcing them to scramble to try to catch up afterwards.

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Tammy will never drink coffee again.

At the detour, this week’s choice was between ripe and relic. “Ripe” involved hauling humongous bushels of bananas and transporting them by pulley. In “relic,” teams had to traverse a bunch of scary footbridges in the rainforest to find ancient Mayan relics.

The Paolos opted for the bananas, and thanks to the physical prowess of “frickin monster” Tony, they finished quickly. The other teams chose, instead, to go relic-hunting.

Trying desperately to make up some ground, the Gaghans scoured the rainforest for ancient relics as quickly as possible. Carissa thought she spotted one first:

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Alas, it was only Gary from Survivor. Close, but no cigar.

Over in Quepos, the pit stop for this leg of the race, it was an intense footrace to the finish. “NO PAIN, MA!” DJ yelled, encouraging Marion to keep going. “I can’t do dis no more!” she moaned, but she did, and their first place victory earned each member of the family their choice of four vehicles that Marion would look equally hilarious riding. Seriously, I want to go to Carmel, NY just to see her whizzing around town on her Segway.

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The Linz, super-smelly-Bransen, and Godlewski families followed behind in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place, respectively. We knew the Gaghans were out of it when they arrived at the detour as the Weavers were leaving, but we had a brief glimmer of hope as the Weavers’ van got stuck in the mud.

Sadly, my prayers weren’t answered, probably because Jesus was backlogged with similar requests, like getting Jim fired on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, or bringing back Paradise Hotel. Seriously, I think Jesus should consider hiring an Assistant Savior to respond to all of these reality-related prayers.

Ultimately, the Weavers finished in fifth place, and it was the Gaghan family that was sent home this week.

So what did everyone else think? Were you sad to see the Gaghans go? Are the Weavers as annoying as I think they are, or am I being too hard on them? Is this season getting better, or do all of you still hate it?

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 1:35 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (12)

October 26, 2005

Finally!

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The episode we’ve been waiting for… they’re leaving the frickin’ country!! I was glad to see that the teams seem to be as excited as we are about finally boarding an aeroplano and heading outside the U.S.!

Part of what makes The Amazing Race so fun is watching clueless Americans travel to foreign countries and make stupid cultural gaffes and butcher foreign languages. And this episode did not disappoint in that respect -- next stop-o, Panama City, Panama! Muy excellente!

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Oh my gaaaad. We’re going to Peaaaanamaaa!

Tommy Linz appeared to be the most excited, saying, “I love Panama! I hope we can check out 16 year old girls!” Megan reminded him that they were going to Panama City, Panama, and not Panama City, Florida, home of spring break and bikini-salsa wrestling.

The teams made their way to the airport, where they got in line at the Continental Airlines desk for a flight that would land at 6:39. The Linz, Bransen, and Paolo families bought tickets for this flight, but when the Godlewskis reached the desk, they were told that the flight was full.

Now I hate spreading conspiracy theories, but did anyone else notice all those empty seats on that plane? Unless half the passengers were in the bathroom, that flight was not full!

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BUSTED!! Ha! Though, I don’t really understand why they would force the teams to take two flights, other than to create a pointless little footrace through the airport, since upon reaching the Instituto, the playing field leveled again with an overnight bunching point. Maybe the people in those empty seats really did just all have to pee.

Anywho, the remaining three teams got tickets for an American Airlines flight that would land at 9:10 – a meaningless difference due to the aforementioned bunching point-o. Despite having to cross a scary bridge over la agua infested with los aligatoros, the teams all made it safely to Panama and spent the night at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, or as Bransen girl simplified it, “Instituto del Something.”

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Panama: The sky is blue… the sea is BROWN! Eww!

First task in Panama – take a boat across the Panama Canal to find Ricardo Diaz, a rather pointless exercise which required the teams to find the correct guy in a hammock. Oh Bertram van Munster, you sneaky snake! Putting a decoy hammock-man at the beginning of the path!! Very clever, but you’ll have to do better than that to outwit these teams.

Burrito! Conquistador! Arriba Arriba, Andale Andale! El Speedo!! It was back to the boats, and the Weaver-bashing had resumed again in full force. Mrs. Weaver told the Linz’s driver to “go slow,” (a brilliant move, by the way – I can’t believe it didn’t work) infuriating the Linz boys, who called her a “bitch,” and said she needed to take her crazy pills! Yowza!

Carissa Gaghan took the bashing even further, siphoning the gasoline out of the Weavers boat and stranding Team Fruit Loop in the middle of the Panama Canal! “Where’s your precious Jesus now, LOSERS” yelled Carissa as she commandeered her family’s boat and drove back to shore! Oh no she didn’t! OH SNIZZAP!!! (She really didn’t. I have to stop living in TAR: Fantasyland.)

Back on dry land, it was time for this week’s detour: Rhythm or Coos. Rhythm involved a trip to Ceaaaasko Veaaaayho on a funny red bus, where the teams had to do something unmemorable involving musical instruments and dancing ladies who shook their boobs like they were having epileptic fits.

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Help me! I am having a crrrrrrazy seizure! Seriously, I need an injection of Trrrrrileptal prrrronto!! Ayeeee!!!

The other option was Coos, which also involved riding in a funny red bus, but to el Parko Metropolano instead. I guess Coos is some sort of bird, because the teams had to spot bird decoys using binoculars and circle them on a big card. Unfortunately, Christine Godlewski confused bird watching for beekeeping.

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Gaaaash darn it! Why didn’t anyone tell me not to wear my beekeeper heaaaat?

Update: Could “coos” possibly refer to the cooing sound that birds make? Hmm, pretty lame, considering they were wooden birds.

Carissa Gaghan just reminded me that if Julie Chen can host a television show, a wooden bird can probably coo. Good point, Carissa.

The really exciting part of this episode, though, was not the detour, but the FAST FORWARD! Oh yes, you heard me right! Phil explained to us that in TAR:FE (is it totally geeky if I call it that?), there is only one Fast Forward in the entire race, and this one involved tandem bungee jumping! Oh PLEASE let it be the Paolos!!

Both the Paolo family and the Gaghan family voiced their intention to go for the Fast Forward, and although it would be cute to watch little Carissa plummet to near-death toward that gross brown water, I really want to see Marion Paolo do it more. It came down to a footrace to the bottom of the bungee spot, and thankfully, a well-placed van prevented the marathoners from outrunning the Paolo family.

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Go, go, go… where do we go? **SLAM**

YES! The Paolos (MARION!) are going to bungee jump! This is going to be awesome!

Surprisingly, Marion seemed unfazed by the idea of diving off of the enormous structure they were ascending, while DJ, on the other hand, was petrified. First Dad and Brian took the plunge, and seemed to have fun doing it. Next up were DJ and Marion. I had envisioned something like DJ saying “Ma, quit whining,” followed by a smack to the boy’s head, causing both of them to topple over, with screams of “YOU BETTER COOOOOOOOLLLLLL IIIIIIIITTTTTTTT!!!” as they dropped toward the sea. Instead, what we witnessed was DJ screaming SO LOUD and SO GIRLY-LIKE that Marion’s reaction was entirely muted.

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In the end, the bungee-jump turned out to be a bonding experience for Mom and DJ.

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DJ: I love you, Ma.
Marion: I love you, son.
DJ: Ma, quit huggin’ me so hard.
Marion: SHUT UP, I will hug you as hard as I want!
Carissa: You two better COOL IT!!!

After the other teams finished delivering instruments and cooing, they were off to play some baseball! On the way, one of the pink ladies told the Linz family that Tricia was going to make out with one of them! Wait, do they think they’re at spring break, too?

On the way to the baseball field, another Godlewski gal suggested that Sheaaaaron “flash em" when she runs to first base. Yikes, these ladies are crrrrrrazy in Peaaaaanamaaa! Making out with the Linz boys? Flashing 14 year old little league players! La vida loca, indeed!

The road-blaaaahck proved easy for some teams (the Linz and Gaghan families) and tougher for others. Sheaaaaron had a particularly tough time, but after a commercial-break-interrupted (read: needlessly-over-dramatically-intensified) moment of frustration, she pictured her old boss’s head on the ball and whacked a base-hit.

Our gals knew they were in last place, though, and despite some creative editing to make us think that the Gaghans might wind up trapped indefinitely behind an errant soda machine (this editing fake-out was brought to you by… delicious ice-cold Pepsi!), the pink ladies’ luck seemed to run out as the Gaghans finished fifth.

Preparing for the possibility of a non-elimination leg, the Godlewski gals donned every last pink thread in their beaaaack-peaaaaacks.

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We’re dropping drawers, girls!

I for one was nervous, thinking that it couldn’t possibly be a non-elimination leg, since this was the only leg on the entire race with a Fast Forward! But, logic be damned, it was! Poor Christine didn’t put on that beekeeper hat for nothing! Despite violating Panama's "Underpants On Top Of Underpants On Top Of Pants Act of 1974," the pink ladies will live to see another day, and (hopefully!) another country!! Yay girls!!!

So, what did all of you think of this episode-o?

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 1:26 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (7)

October 19, 2005

Down south

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The world’s biggest office chair! NASCAR! Trailer parks! Gambling! Flannel! Naked butts!! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we’re headed down south. The Amazing Race made its way through the deep south last night on a whirlwind lame tour of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

The Bransens, winners of last week’s insane “free gasoline for life” prize, started off this leg. First stop, the world’s largest office chair.

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The cover of every “Visit Alabama!” brochure, I’m sure

Bransen girl (it’s easier to just call them all “Bransen girl” – I can’t tell them apart) mused out loud, “when I see the word Alabama, I think ‘ugly.’” Oh no she didn’t!! Ugly ole’ Alabammy ain’t getting none of this Bransen girl!

Not to be outdone by Bransen girl, Carissa Gaghan added, “when I see Alabama, I think of fat stupid people with no teeth!” Oh no she DIDN’T!! No, really, she didn’t. But you know she thought it.

Next up were the Linz siblings, who were giggling away and playing a game of “hot hands,” AKA “slap the sister.” See, Rolly & Hunter, slapping within the family = fun, but slapping outside the family = dangerous divulgence of “strategy.” Duh!

Speaking of the ultra-competitive Schroeders, they started this leg in third place. We saw a clip of Stassi Schroeder telling us how she is used to coming in first at everything she does, which, according to the rules of reality TV editing, means that they will probably be eliminated.

The Godlewski ladies were next. Dressed in a lovely assortment of pastels, they told us about how they sometimes fight. More foreshadowing, perhaps? Let’s hope so! The Paolos can’t have all the fun.

After the pink ladies left, it was the Weavers turn. Rachel Weaver began this leg by breaking the record for the world’s fastest prayer.

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DearLordwepraythatyouwillhelpusduringtheraceandthatwewillgo
reallyfastandcatchuptotheotherteams.InJesus’snameweprayAMEN.

Over in the Schroeder car, the Weaver-bashing was in full effect. Hunter called them “the white trash family,” and Stassi one-upped him by calling Mom Weaver “the wicked witch!” Ouch! Best-friend-stepmom Char chimed in, saying that at first she felt bad for them, but that was before she found out they’re evil. Stassi added, “they’re fake – at first they try to be your friend, then they try to kill you!” Whoa, that’s a little overboard missy. Where did all this Weaver hatred come from? I just wish Marion Paolo was in the car with the Schroeders. You all better COOL IT!!!

Unfortunately, Marion wasn’t there to bitch-slap Char & Stassi, because she was busy fighting with her own family, as usual.

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You boys better COOL IT!!! I could KILL YOU with this clue, you know!

Bringing up the rear were the Gaghans (AKA the rugrats), who, as usual, were telling us how the other teams underestimate them. The only thing this episode needed to be more stereotypically predictable was Ron telling us how giant office chairs reminded him of Baghdad.

After climbing the big chair, the teams all headed to the speedway in Taaaaaladeeeeega, Aaaalabeaaama, which is beaaaaack on 20 West, Sheaaaaron!! They each had to complete one leaaaaap around the treaaaack. Sorry, I’ll stop (but it’s so fun).

What looked like it might be a NASCAR race turned out to be just a ride on a weird looking group-bike. Whew, the Weavers have been spared. They’re not my favorite team, but I thought that would have been a little too mean. Perhaps Jesus answered Rachel’s super-speed-prayer?

It did, however, seem like the wrath of God had been summoned upon the Paolos as they were finishing the road-blaaaahck (oops, sorry).

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Jesus: You Paolos better COOL IT!!! I swear to FRICKIN’ GOD! And I AM GOD, so HA!

Next stop: 260 miles away in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where the teams had to find the Southern Colonel, a mobile home park. Both the Weavers and the Godlewskis called it the “Southern Colonial” – now that’s just mean, ladies! They are obviously mobile homes, not Colonials. No need to rub it in.

The Schroeders had some trouble finding the Colonel, mainly because Dad thought it would be a waste of time to stop and ask directions or look up the address, like all of the other teams did. Those tech-seaaaavy Godlewskis even found a computer where they Googled the Southern Colonel and found it immediately.

At the trailer park, the teams had to find trailers with designated departure times. Unbeknownst to them, there were three options: 7:20 am, 7:40 am, and 8:00 am. Once a team pulled off a time, they were stuck with it. The first arrivals, the Bransen and Linz families, grabbed the two 7:20 slots. The Godlewskis got the first 7:40 slot. Amazingly Incredibly stupidly, the next three teams all took the 8:00 time, leaving the last-but-lucky Paolos to get the remaining 7:40 slot.

The next morning, the teams headed to Louisiana for this week’s detour: a choice between work (sawing a log) or play (playing blackjack). Not exactly edge-of-your-seat excitement, but hey, it’s better than last week’s Gravitron challenge. Both tasks required silly costumes – blackjack teams had to dress up in period ugly suits and foofy dresses, and log-sawing teams had to dress up like lesbians:

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The pit stop for this leg of the race was just across Lake Ponchartrain, which, Mrs. Weaver pointed out, is one of the great lakes. It is also one of the seven wonders of the world, along with Pennsylvania National Park, the great state of Washington, DC, and the Virgin Mary that appeared in the form of syrup on the pancakes that she ordered at the Waffle House last week.

The teams headed to New Orleans, and this time, it was the pink ladies who seemed to be going into meltdown-mode. Christine totally lost it when her obviously lunatic sister told her to leave her backpack in the car.

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I WILL NOT ABEAAAANDON MY BEAAAACKPEAAAACK!!!

A suggestion for Christine -- here.

Team Pokey Poppa finished in first place for the second week in a row, winning a trip (from Travelocity!) to Orlando this time. As the rest of the teams made their way to the pit stop, the battle over last place was between the Schroeders and the Gaghans. We knew they were screwed when they showed that footage of them saying they always finish first, and sure enough, the Schroeders were eliminated this week.

If there is a lesson to be learned from this episode, it’s don’t mess with the Weavers. Last week, the Aiellos hated them, and they were eliminated. This week, the Schroeders called them all sorts of mean names, and they met the same fate. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and that obviously includes screwing over TAR teams who are mean to his fans. Except for Brandon and Nicole. Even Jesus thought they were annoying.

So, next week they’re finally leaving the country, woo hoo! Where do you think they’re headed? I’m betting on exotic Canada, but I’m hoping for Mexico. Mainly because I’m dying to see Carissa Gaghan try to find the train station by asking someone “Donde esta el choo chooooo?” It would be even cuter than when Charla did it!

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 2:00 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (3)

October 12, 2005

Shrimp is small!

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Remember that section on the SAT where you had to complete a bunch of analogies? Imagine you were given one like this, which answer would you choose?

SHRIMP : SMALL :: THE AMAZING RACE – FAMILY EDITION : ________

A) AWESOME!
B) OK
C) WATERED-DOWN
D) REALLY BORING
E) B AND C
F) C AND D

So after the first episode, I was leaning toward (E), but as time goes on, it’s looking more and more like (F) to me. I expected it to be a little watered-down, but last night’s episode was pretty darn boring, too. Oh well, I’ll do my best to make it seem AWESOME! in my recap (with funny pictures!), after the jump.

The race resumed this week in Virginia at 2:26 am. That’s awfully late for a 9-year-old to be up, isn’t it? I think if Carissa can be up at all hours of the night, she can eat a hippopotamus testicle. Hmm, maybe next week. Anywho, the clue began, “drive yourself to Dulles International Airport.” YES!! They’re getting on a frickin’ plane! And flying all the way to… Charleston, SC! Yeah, pretty lame. At least they have funny accents there, so we can pretend it’s kind of exotic. The teams had a little trouble pronouncing the airport name (the Linz kids called it “Dulls,” while the Bransen ladies apparently thought they were in France, directing the driver to Dullés Airport).

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Allons-y! L’aeroport Dullés!! Vive la France!!!

The mad dash to get the best possible flight is a staple of TAR. However, Washington, DC to Charleston, SC is a pretty common itinerary, compared to say, Tanzania to Anchorage via Singapore. So, 5 teams made it on the first flight, with the Bransens and Gaghans on flight #2 (arriving two minutes later), and the Paolos on flight #3 (arriving about 30 minutes after that).

There was some drama in the airport when Stassi Schroeder and David Aiello accused the Weavers of being “sneaky,” because they were asking lots of information from the ticket counter lady. Really, they just haven’t flown much and had no idea how the whole “airport” thing works, so they were asking the lady to explain it to them. Oh Linda Weaver, you sneaky snake! The Schroeders called them SBD (silent but deadly), which I always thought referred to extra-stinky farts that make no noise (remember those Ostrich eggs, Karen??)

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SBD: severe bowel disturbance

The Weavers then noticed the Paolo family, and said, “the Cleavers are here,” which reminds me of an important point…

Why do the teams have such lame names for each other this season? Remember past seasons? Team Cha Cha Cha, The Gutsy Grannies, Ike & Tina, OJ & Nicole, The Hilton sisters. This time, it’s the Florida Team, Team Louisiana, and the Cleavers, which I totally don’t understand, because DJ and Brian really don't remind me of Wally and the Beav at all. I think someone referred to the Godlewskis as the Desperate Housewives in episode 1, but I can’t really picture Bree Van de Kamp wearing a t-shirt with Felicity Huffman’s face silk-screened on it, so I don’t really get that one either. Can’t you do any better, guys?

Back to the airport, the tension was too much for some of the teams, as Char Schroeder yelled at Hunter for “giving away their strategy” to Rolly Weaver.

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Our strategy is to slap you until you giggle! Take that!

Hunter responded by calling stepmom Char a bitch! Yeah!! I normally don’t approve of such language, but I had to agree this time.

After a harrowing two-hour flight, the teams all arrived in South Carolina and proceeded to this week’s detour. The two tasks to choose from were de-heading two big crates of shrimp, or driving a truck through a very muddy pit. It was the classic Amazing Race detour dilemma: the straightforward, tedious task or the difficult one that could take anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 hours. Everyone chose the shrimp (despite the fact that shrimp is small!), except for the Weavers, Aiellos and Gaghans. The Weavers went a couple of rounds in the mud and quickly decided to do the shrimp instead. The Aiellos kept getting stuck in the mud, too. Perhaps this task is impossible? Actually, no, the Gaghans showed up next, hopped in the truck and finished in one try! And Carissa was driving!! Ok, not really (but that would have been so much cooler).

Over at the shrimp boat, the other teams are squeezing little shrimpies until their heads pop off. Not all that exciting, except for the brief romance that we witnessed between Tommy Linz and a soon-to-be headless beauty.

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Finally, a gal whose neck is as big as her head, just like mine! I love you!! Wait, how do I know if you're a boy or a girl? Oh, I don't care!!! *slurp, slurp*

Next up, the teams have to take a mystery bus ride. They’re bunched into two groups: one bus leaves at 3:00 pm and the other two hours later. They are not told where they're going or how long the ride will take, which apparently drives the Weavers “insane,” if you define “insane” as giggling a lot and dancing in the parking lot of a Waffle House.

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Maybe I just watch too much reality TV, but when I think of insane behavior, something like this comes to mind (thanks TVGasm!) The Weavers’ behavior was just weird.

When the bus ride ends, the teams find themselves in Huntsville, Alabammy, where they must complete this leg’s road-blaaaahck, which is literally a trip to space camp. Two members from each team have to ride on a astronaut-training thing that is sort of like a fancy version of that ride that they have at every amusement park, except instead of the floor dropping out and being pinned to the wall upside down, you just sit there. Crazy!

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If you hadn’t noticed, gravity is currently pushing on me. See what a bad-ass I am? Take that, Jeff Probst!

Since there is only one Gravitron centrifuge, the teams can only complete the roadblock one at a time. Obviously, the four teams on the first bus get there first, and each take a turn spinning around. Afterwards, they walked a whole mile to a space museum to watch Phil deliver the cheesiest AOL-promo of all time via a computer screen, before checking in at the pit stop.

First place went to the Bransen family this week, and they won a lifetime of free gas from BP, which given today’s prices and their ages, is worth, according to my calculations, about one zillion dollars. And all they could cough up for the fantasy game is $200? Shame on you, CBS. Not surprisingly, because the roadblock could only be completed one team at a time, even the remotest possibility of excitement was eliminated as each team finished in the same order that they arrived at the centrifuge.

The four teams on bus #2 arrived two hours behind, and despite their “meltdown” at the Waffle House, the Weavers pulled it together to finish fifth. The Paolos improved on their performance last week with a sixth place finish, and the Gaghans were right behind in seventh place. The Aiello family finished last, and was eliminated.

But the real news about the Aiellos was their choice of fashion this week. You guessed it, silk-screened t-shirts!!! Apparently this is quite the trend in Season 8, but let’s not forget who started this craze!

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How cool are we?

So that's it from me! What did everyone else out there think about this week’s episode?

UPDATE: Apparently I missed a new nickname during this episode -- TEAM FRUIT LOOP! Ha! Not bad.

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 9:35 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (31)

October 5, 2005

The sky is blue

The sea is… green? I always thought it was blue, too, but I’ve never actually been to Washington, DC. Maybe the water out there just isn’t very clean.

Anyway, last night CBS brought us episode 2 of The Amazing Race: Family Edition, and I must admit, I was disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoy the family dynamic, and I think the cast of characters this season is pretty interesting. But the race itself is definitely watered down, or at least it was last night. It’s not really the lack of travel to exotic locales, or the “race through American history” theme that bothers me. It’s the super-easy, even cheesy Detours and Roadblocks (or road-blaaaahcks, as the Godlewski gals say). See Exhibits A and B. Oh well, I’ll stop being negative. The show itself was still pretty entertaining. Plus there are funny pictures after the jump.

The episode began with all of the teams driving off to a big house shaped like a shoe. They had to race all the way up NEARLY TWENTY STEPS to get to the flag at the top! Oops, that was sarcastic, and I promised to be positive. Sorry. Sadly, the Godlewski gals’ first-place lead quickly evaporated while driving to the death-defying shoe-house challenge, as they slipped to third place. Gotta get with the program ladies, can’t take those little leads for granted!

Next it was off to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Now, I may live in Palmdale, CA, but I certainly have a pretty good sense of American geography, or at least, you know, common-knowledge facts that even 6-year-olds know, like that Pennsylvania is a state and that Washington, DC is not actually in a state. It’s its own special little place, because, you know, it’s like, the capital of America. The Weavers, however, spent the ride debating whether they were going to Washington State or to Maryland. Hopefully Jesus will help them find Washington, DC, and perhaps give them a crash course in sixth-grade geography along the way. Oops, there goes negative Linda again! Tsk tsk.

On the way to DC, Billy Gaghan did an excellent impersonation of Marion Paolo when she gets pissed.

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You boys better COOL IT!!! I swear to frickin’ God!

Side note: Did anyone notice the Godlewski gals' “new look” this week? Last week they featured the (mostly) all-pink ensemble. But this week, whoa! T-shirts with silk-screened photos on them! Photos of what, you ask? Well, I can’t tell for sure, but it looks like pictures of each other!!! I’m not joking, look for yourself.

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Can you tell? Are they photos of each other? The last one actually reminds me a bit of this photo, but maybe her boob is just making the face look weird.

Fast-forward to Washington, DC, and the teams have to find a clue next to the reflecting pool at the Capitol. Notice I emphasized the at the Capitol part, because apparently there are two pools! Oh you sneaky Amazing Race producers!! This threw a number of teams off as they wasted tons of time at the other pool. Surprisingly, the Weavers had little trouble with this. I half-expected them to ask, “What is the U.S. Capitol? Is that a state?? I think it’s on the border of Washington State and Maryland, near a park called Pennsylvania.”

Next it was on to the Road-blaaaahck, which was a covert spy operation! Tres exciting!! Actually, not really. It was pretty boring. My favorite “spy” was the one Tammy found. Very covert-looking indeed.

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After trading briefcases, spy-lady turned to the camera and moaned, “LAMBORGHINI!”

OK, I know this is an Amazing Race blog. But I can make an Apprentice joke, can’t I? For those who don’t watch that show, you're missing out. Check out this hilarious clip. (via TVGasm)

After the exhilarating covert operation, the teams were on to somewhere in Virginia-tucky, where they were faced with a Detour which gave them the choice of lighting lamps or carrying “wounded soldiers,” a.k.a. desperate actors who couldn’t get a better gig than doing a civil war re-enactment on the Amazing Race.

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My agent is so fired.

The Weavers blew through the lamp-lighting to finish in first place, winning a trip to somewhere I can’t remember, not that they know where it is anyway. The Linz family rebounded from near-elimination last week to place second this time, and our favorite formerly-pink-ladies fell to third place. As always on TAR, the real battle was over last place. It was the Paolos versus the Rogers, and ultimately the Rogers got the boot. I hope Mr. Rogers felt really stupid watching this episode because he was a total jerk to his son, and was basically the reason his family finished last. Thankfully the Paolos will live to see another day, and we can look forward to another week of their zany antics. Yes, they fight a lot, but I like them.

So what did all of YOU think? Will the Godlewski gals regain their lead, and (more importantly) their coordinated pinkness? Will the teams finally get on a plane, or better yet eat something gross and barf some of it back up? Will the next episode be less boring, or will I have to rely on screen captures with silly captions to entertain myself again?

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 12:19 PM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (3)

September 28, 2005

Girl Power!!

So, all you naysayers who have been complaining that TAR8: FAMILY EDITION was going to be lame - I hope you all shut your negative-nancy pie holes now, because last night's premiere was pretty darn good! We saw lots of interesting teams, family drama (which is at least as fun as couple drama), and lots of stroking and squealing. Sure, the challenges were pretty easy (I think the toughest one involved rowing a boat with a fake George Washington), and their first adventure only took them a few hundred miles around the northeastern U.S., but I'll assume that things will get tougher as we go along, and that the teams will travel to more exotic locations than New York and Pennsylvania. (Note to Weaver mom: Yes, Pennsylvania is a state. I'll really be worried about this woman if they send her to Mumbai.)

Side note: Did anyone notice who the "frank" vendors were in New York City? Why it was the loveable duo of Kevin and Drew, the fourth place finishers from season one! I loved those guys, too bad nobody seemed to recognize them. I guess I can't blame the little kids - Carissa was probably still burping up applesauce when season one aired. Perhaps on one of the legs, the teams will venture out to Palmdale, California and will bowl a game against Karen and me! I hope they'd at least recognize us for goodness sake.

Anywho, I'll be the first to admit that Karen was right on the money with her pick of the Godlewski girls! Go ladies!! These four blond beauties mopped the floor with the competition, all the while looking magnificent in pink. And the Weaver mom recovered from a near-fatal buggy accident (I'm not one to spread conspiracy theories, but I heard that some Amish were pissed that she didn't know what Pennsylvania was and cut the brakes) to place third with her daughters and son, just barely edged out by those feisty Gaghans.

My pick to win (the Linz family) finished a pathetic ninth. And sadly, the sweet African-American family, the most coordinated of all with matching tie-dyed t-shirts, was eliminated. All Mr. and Mrs. African-American wanted was to travel somewhere outside of the east coast, and the farthest they got was some park called Pennsylvania.

All in all, I thought it was a solid episode, and loads of fun was had at the Heins-Ruiz premiere party (though the scrambled ostrich eggs aren't agreeing with me so much today, and perhaps Karen had a few too many apple martinis because she was blabbering all night about how gorgeous Phil looked in purple stripes). What did all of you think? Will the Godlewski girls maintain their lead? Is Carissa Gaghan really that tough or is it all a front? Will Mrs. Paolo continue to waste time doing stupid things like turning on the air conditioner in the car? Will the Linz boys get together with the Bransen gals and make beautiful blond babies? Is anyone actually reading this??

Posted by Linda Ruiz at 11:13 AM | Category: Recap corner | Comments (4)